Forgive us as we Forgive – Matthew 6:12, 14-15
September 26th, 2021

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors

Forgive us

Why is forgiveness necessary?

God is just (see Deut 10:17-18, Gen 18:25, etc.). God loves mankind, and all people are guilty of sinning against God (Rom 3:28, Psalm 51:4).   All are are accountable to God.  Rom 3:19-20. Achieving forgiveness was Jesus’ mission:  1 Tim 1:15  “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” 1 Cor 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. ” Our faith is in the effectiveness of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is effectual for the forgiveness of our sins.  God testified to the efficacy by raising Jesus from the dead.  That’s why Romans 10:9-10 says that “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 

as we also have forgiven our debtors

We tend to let transgressions against us pile up.  Resentment causes bitterness and enslavement—it causes sickness within us; physical, mental and emotional.  

Why are we told that we must forgive?

We all need forgiveness

Since all of us are born sinners, then we sin against God in the way that we treat other.  Since Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” this means that we have too.  And since God has forgiven us, then we should go and do likewise. 

We are commanded to forgive—it is a requirement

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6: 14-15). God stands ready and willing to forgive us, but asks that we extend the same forgiveness to others.

In Matthew 18, Peter brashly came up to Jesus, and said to Him, “Lord, how many times shall my brother sin against me and I still forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy-seven times.   Peter thinks he is being very generous by saying he will forgive seven times when someone has hurt him.  Seven represents completion in the Bible. Peter wanted to know at what point he could be completely done with forgiveness, and therefore done with someone that constantly seemed to need forgiveness. Even as God separates our sin as far from us as the East is from the West, and throws our transgressions in the sea of forgetfulness—then we should not keep track and therefore retain all of the resentment and bitterness in our hearts.  We should give it over to God and let Him heal us. 

Parable:  Matthew 18:23-35

If we don’t forgive others, there are consequences – eternal consequences! God does not want us to harbor unforgiveness in our heart.  He does not want us to have our heart poisoned by bitterness—and suffer all of the mental, emotional and physical suffering that unforgiveness brings.   And, we are to take care of the debt, right now, not later.  Jesus said in Luke 17:3-4 3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”  Forgiveness is a non-negotiable practice for true followers of Jesus Christ. 

Lack of forgiveness breaks our fellowship with God.

“That’s why Jesus urged us back in chapter 5 verse 23 Therefore, if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.    

We owe others forgiveness even when they don’t ask for it.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matthew 18: 15). God commands us to be the initiators. We should go to our brother or sister and talk it out.

We owe forgiveness to those who don’t deserve it.

When Joseph finally revealed that he, the 2nd in command for the most powerful nation in the world, was also their brother that they had sold into slavery, and who, as a result had spent years imprisoned as an innocent man, Joseph forgives.  In Genesis 50:19-21 Genesis 50:19-21 But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.   And during the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7:59-60: And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  And most importantly, Jesus on the cross in the midst of his executioners (Luke 23:34: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”

Jesus, our example, practiced forgiveness.

Sometimes it can be easier to die for Jesus than to live for Him year after year and fight the good fight.  Jesus practiced forgiveness not only in His death, but throughout His life:  John 8:7 “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).

God gives us the ability to forgive others.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Forgiving can be one of the hardest things that God requires of us. He gives us the power, through the Holy Spirit.  A good way to start on the path toward forgiving someone is to pray that God would allow you to see them like He sees them. Remind yourself that Jesus loved them enough to die on the cross for them, as well as you. Let God show you that they were created in His image too.  He loves their soul too, and He doesn’t want them to suffer in this life, or in the eternal fires of hell.  Let God break your heart for them and so heal you of the hurt that they have inflicted on you.  Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”





Our Daily Bread – Matthew 6:11
September 19th, 2021

Jesus’ petition for bread is a call to for God to provide in meeting our basic human needs.  Matthew says give us this day our daily bread, and Luke in 11:3 says Give us each day our daily bread. 

Bread

God commanded that only unleavened bread would be eaten during the Passover to commemorate the hastiness of their departure from Egypt, and for use in offerings.  The shew-bread, or bread of the face, or of the presence, because it was set forth before the face or in the presence of the Lord God in his holy place. Twelve unleavened loaves represented the twelve tribes.  It was a testimony that the place of the 12 tribes was to be continually before the Lord.  So, while unleavened bread became a symbol of purity and following God, Leaven causes bread to rise and be puffed up, a symbol of pride and self-sufficiency. (see 1 Cor 5:7-8).

Bread meant survival, and so in our verse today bread stands for all of the things needed for our daily sustenance. 

Manna

Now, Jesus’ admonition to pray for daily bread called to mind the great miracle that God did for the Israelites as He provided food for them in the wilderness.  In Exodus 16:4-35. And Israel did not forget this.  In Psalm 78:24 24 He rained down manna upon them to eat, And gave them food from heaven. 25 Man ate the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance. 

Daily

Notice, especially in the parallel passage in Luke, that he says Give us each day our daily bread.  Now, in our human nature, we want to ask God for a whole warehouse full of bread—enough to last us a lifetime, so we won’t have to ask again. 

He wants us to know our provision comes from Him

If God gave us every provision for our entire life at the beginning, we’d just live like kings (literally on the throne of our own lives) for however many years the provision lasted.  Jesus, being wise, urges us to pray for our daily bread and all of our material needs are meted out day-by-day.  Like rations necessary for survival during the coming day, we pray that God provides.  And He does.  In Philippians 4:19 Paul assures us “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” God supplies our needs out of His storehouses.  Wouldn’t you rather look to God’s riches to supply your need than your own? 

He wants us to keep up communication with Him

Because God gives us our daily bread, it means that we must communicate with Him each day to ask for our daily bread.  This day-by-day existence keeps us praying.  God knows our needs before we ask (Matt6:31-2).   But, we are to take our needs and those of others to God’s throne of grace in prayer.  Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help. 

He wants to change the desires of our hearts

But, in order to know what to ask for, we need to be in the will of God for our lives.  God isn’t going to give us something that will harm us.  When we are in the will of God for our lives in our prayer life, our life in our church with our brothers and sisters, our life in our work as we accomplish what needs to be done during the day—as we come under submission to Him as King, then we find that we change what we are asking for to align with His will.  We start to care more about what He wants. 

God is the Source–I am the bread of Life

You know God is not really interested in becoming your heavenly ATM, or your celestial slot machine.  That would do you no good, and in fact would undermine His drawing you to Him.  Jesus makes this point to some of the 5,000 who had been fed on loaves and fishes in John 6:26 saying 26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate some of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”  They were only seeking Jesus, so that they could get another free lunch.  They were missing the point.   They asked Him in verse 228-29 28 Therefore they said to Him, “What are we to do, so that we may accomplish the works of God?”  And Jesus points them right back to God in verse 29 saying 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  They keep trying to accomplish in their own strength—what work do we have to do for God.  And Jesus says Believe in God; Trust Him for provision.  But they didn’t get it.  Some of the rabbis had taught that the coming of the Messiah would open up again the storehouses of Heaven, and once again God’s people would eat Manna from heaven, just as the Israelites did in the wilderness.  In fact, in verses 30-31, they ask Him point-blank 30 So they said to Him, “What then are You doing as a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work are You performing? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’”.  But had Jesus just kept multiplying loaves and fishes, then they would have failed to see what God really had in store for them.  Jesus wasn’t pointing them to the provision, but to the Provider—to God Himself.    And when the people, as they always do, try to give Moses the credit for the Manna, Jesus comes back in verse 32 with 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.   So, once again Jesus points them to God as the provider of their daily sustenance.  33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.” He is speaking of Himself, who gives life to the world by completing His mission to provide salvation for the world on the cross.  34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”  35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; the one who comes to Me will not be hungry, and the one who believes in Me will never be thirsty. 





Your Kingdom Come – In our lives
September 12th, 2021

In our lives

When we pray “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, it also means we’re praying that God’s will is done in our own lives. 

We want to be in charge. 

We want to be in charge.  We want to be in the driver’s seat.   We want to be the center of attention of everything.

As Christians, the Holy Spirit is the one who influences our spirit to submit to the will of God, despite our fleshly desires.  It’s a fight against our flesh.  And the extent to which we grow in the spirit is dependent on whether we cooperate with the Holy Spirit and God’s plan of sanctification and purification, or whether we feed the flesh.  (see Gal 6:7-10)

Let God Reign In our lives

Trials are guaranteed to come.  And at all times, especially in the midst of trials, it’s critical that we only let God’s Spirit direct our actions. And that is why we need to make sure that our Mind, body and soul are submitted to His will.  When we pray, your will be done, it applies to our own life first, to our obedience as we face the trials of our daily life. Jesus Himself fought this battle against temptation and He overcame in the Garden of Gethsemene (Luke 22:39-42, Matt. 26:42)  It is by desiring that God’s will is done, and not ours that we overcome temptation.  We see that Jesus’ primary concern was the ultimate working out of God’s purpose for His life; His dying on the cross for the sins of the world. It is by seeking what Jesus sought—to always and only do the will of the Father that we overcome.  This is one of the most demanding prayers disciples can be called on to offer, with far-reaching consequences for the daily conduct of our lives.  When we say, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done it’s not just a call for “that world out there” to behave ethically, or just to look forward to the ‘blessed hope’ of the consummation of the Kingdom, but a call to make sure that the Kingdom is active and alive in us as we obey our master Jesus in discipleship. Following His example.

We must trust God enough to let Him have control.

But God will not overrule your own will in your life, if you choose to take control.  Who is ruling your life? Is God’s Spirit reigning or are you allowing your thoughts and emotions to run your life? When we do this, we will live in a constant state of over-thinking, constant anxiety, confusion, fear and depression.   But when I let God direct me and rule my soul, then I can remain in perfect peace no matter what’s going on around us.

It’s God’s Will Not ours

God wants to reign as king in our lives.  He has given His only begotten Son, buying our redemption with His shed blood so that we can have a relationship with us. 

In John 7:37-38 Jesus gave a personal invitation to individuals to follow Him.We have this Holy Spirit.  God loves us, and has the best life possible planned out for us.  He wants to bless us and make wonderful poetry out of our life as He sings over us.  He wants our lives to be filled with blessing, peace and joy. 

What is God’s Will?

Romans 12:1–2

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Sacrifices are used in worship of God.  If we’re presenting our bodies and our lives as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, then that means that the proper aim of our lives in God’s eyes is that Jesus is glorified and magnified in everything we do.  So, our entire life becomes the “spiritual service” of worship.  Worship means using our minds and hearts and bodies to try to express the immeasurable worth and value of God and all he is for us so that we can appreciate Him properly in our own lives and so that we can “shine His light” to the world around us.

How do we do this?  Remember Matthew 5:6 Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  Our works, the way that we think and establish our priorities, and the words that we say reflect God’s glorious light to those around us, and let them know that He is Good!

And, as Paul continues in verse 2 of Romans 12, we receive the explanation of how we turn our lives into an act of worship of God, as well as a warning of potential pitfalls:

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Verse 2 is Paul’s answer to how we turn all of life into worship. We must be transformed. Not just our external behavior, but the way we feel and think—our minds. As we live our lives according to the will of God, everything becomes worship, because we do it in the way and to the extent that God wants us to (Rom 11:36). To glorify God is what we’re here for (Psalm 73:24-26).

So that means that we live in such a way that the way we live does not give people cause to call Christians hypocrites and that we must not do anything which would give Jesus a bad name, or diminish what people think of Him.

There is a danger that the things we do will place a stumbling block to cause people to falter when they try to seek Jesus.  Our cooperation with the sanctification that God wants to bring about in us will help prevent this (1 Thess 4:3-4) 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;

Become What You Already Are

When we are saved, and regenerated and justified, then we are made newIf anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.  7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let’s celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  This is what is supposed to be going on in your life as a Christian.  This is God’s will for you(Col 3:8-10)